The University of Wisconsin Press

Theater & Drama / Gay Interest / Autobiography


Body Blows
Six Performances
Tim Miller
Photographs by Dona Ann McAdams, with a foreword by Tony Kushner

Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiographies

"Tim Miller sings that song of the self which interrogates, with explosive, exploding, subversive joy and freedom, the constitution and borderlines of selfhood. . . . You think you don't need to hear such singing? You do! You must! Read the book!"
—Tony Kushner, playwright of Angels in America, from the foreword

Hailed for his humor and passion, the internationally acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller has delighted, shocked, and emboldened audiences all over the world. Body Blows gathers six of Miller's best-known performances that chart the sexual, spiritual, and political topography of his identity as a gay man: Some Golden States, Stretch Marks, My Queer Body, Naked Breath, Fruit Cocktail, and Glory Box. In Body Blows, Tim Miller leaps from the stage to the page, as each performance script is illustrated with striking photographs and accompanied by Miller's notes and comment.

This book explores the tangible body blows—taken and given—of Miller's life and times as explored in his performances: the queer-basher's blow, the sweet blowing breath of a lover, the below-the-belt blow of HIV/AIDS, the psychic blows from a society that disrespects the humanity of lesbian and gay relationships. Miller's performances are full of the put-up-your-dukes and stand-your-ground of such day-to-day blows that make up being gay in America.

Tim Miller. Photo credit, Thomas Strand.Tim Miller is the author of the book Shirts & Skin, 1001 Beds, and his performance texts have appeared in the play collections O Solo Homo and Sharing the Delirium. He teaches performance at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Theater and is co-founder of Performance Space 122 in New York City and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, California. In 1990, Miller was awarded a solo performer fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts and became known as one of the "NEA Four" when the grant was withdrawn under political pressure. He lives in Los Angeles with his partner Alistair McCartney.

Dona Ann McAdams is a photographer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, London Times, Time, Stern, Aperture, and many other publications, and in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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cover of Body Blows is a dramatic photo of Tim Miller from one of his performances.

February 2002
272 pp.   6 x 9 
33 b/w photographs

Book icon Paper $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-17684-6
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Visit Tim Miller's website or read his blog.

"The power of Tim Miller's performances lies in his sharp mind and gentle heart, his capacity for being angry and funny and self-critical all at once. One senses immediately that he can be trusted, even when he leads us into unknown territory. His passion is utterly contagious."
—Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City

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